A film by Alex Gabbay

I’m a bloke who likes making things and, I don’t know, one way or another I’ve always liked fiddling about with stuff as a way of thinking. Because I’m not sure I trust thinking by itself. In fact, it’s got me into a lot of trouble. And somehow, making things, or just touching material is a grounding experience.

I’m not particularly interested in understanding humans as such, given that I work on perception, which is something that is relevant to any visual animal. So what I’m particularly interested in is understanding the general principles by which anything sees.

As a former investment banker, I know that numbers are not the be all and end all. If they had the answers to everything then we certainly wouldn’t be in the global financial crisis. The Queen did ask that question – why did no one spot this coming? And a number of preeminent economists replied to her and said it was a failure of collective imagination. So, within that context we also have to make that realization that obviously a purely quant-based system and over reliance on mathematics, just cannot continue to be the modus operandi for us as a global collective.

We’re just saturated, absolutely
saturated by numbers. We probably experience about a 1,000 numbers an hour or 16,000 numbers a day, or six million numbers in a lifetime. I’m just looking at today’s copy of The Guardian, G2 cover story. Film and Music on page 6, there’s a bar code, it costs 90 pence, it’s Friday the 14th of the 8th 09. Women to box in 2012, if you want more turn to page 7, the leader column on page 32, the top 100 hundred shares, the high the low… etc etc etc, then of course you get cricket two wickets for 40 overs, 16 of which were maiden, 77 of them came off when he took two wickets [That’s enough.] What? [That’s enough.] No, no there’s much more, we haven’t even got on to the golf or the racing…

Playing around with things and seeing what happens – that provisional testing, that whatever – we should do it all our lives. We should never give up, we should never give up trying things out just for the sake of trying them, and that’s what the
space of art, I think, gives back to the world, when so much of it now is calculated

I trained as a logician and I got into brain research kind of by mistake – the human brain. So it’s a long story, but briefly I was interested in natural languages. I studied speech and in particular the pauses in speech. Then I started to look at people whose speech was affected by brain damage. I started to see patients who had particular problems with numbers, after a stroke for example, that they hadn’t had before. So I got into numbers by that route.

I call myself a netizen. We define this as being regular individuals who essentially is on the net to foster openness, trust, democracy, collective collaboration in a way that’s constructive. Absolutely anybody could be a netizen. Everybody can contribute to the net, they can have their voice on the net, they can campaign on the net for issues that they believe passionately in, even simply to express their creativity – it could be anything.

It’s a miracle, it’s a miracle that we see at all. It’s phenomenal the eye’s a tremendously amazing structure on the one hand – and of course, well, needless to say we see – but on the other hand, the eyes are a bit like what the keyboard is for a computer, it’s just the way of getting the information in, right? But much of the perception is actually happening in the brain, in the computer itself. The relationship is that perception is in fact a narrative, it’s the narrative that we tell ourselves.
The brain evolved to construct meaning, because there’s nothing inherently meaningful in the images that fall onto the eye. So in order for the brain to survive, in order for people to survive, they evolve to continually redefine normality, constantly construct perceptions according to what was useful to see in the past. That then is a narrative, and that narrative is what we see, so when we see a colour, we’re in a sense seeing a narrative, we’re seeing a history.

I never had, in a way, the temerity to think “oh im an artist”. It’s more like the slow realization that “oh that’s what I am”, than thinking at the age of six, that’s what I’m going to be. When all my friends from university, having been dancers and extraordinary artists in their own right, became doctors and architects and lawyers, I really had to think hard about whether I could justify what seemed to be an extremely self-indulgent way of hoeing my own row.

I got an extremely brilliant Italian graduate student called Lisa Cipolotti. One of the things that really excited us was that Lisa Cipolotti had seen this patient who had kept the accounts of her hotel, and then had a stroke, which affected a part of her brain. After her stroke, everything seemed to be OK, except that she couldn’t deal with numbers beyond four. She couldn’t even count beyond four. So if you put five things in front of her and said “can you count these?” she’d go up to four, then point to the fifth object and she’d say “my mathematics finishes here”.
And so we thought this was really striking. Everything else seemed to be OK but this particular little bit of her cognitive skills seemed to be missing, and so we thought the brain is organized in a rather modular way, and one of these modules is for numbers.

I sort of think of bees like little flying people, because their little brain is very efficiently solving these incredibly complex problems. Bees are remarkable – they can count at least to five.
So how do we know that they can count to five? Well, what you could do is, you have your beehive over here, and you’ve got a place where they’ve got their nectar over there. Now they have to fly over say five landmarks before they get their reward. Sometimes the five landmarks are right next to each other, sometimes they’re spaced out quite far away. The bees will basically fly until they go over the fifth one, and then they’ll start searching for the reward. So they fly out bang, bang, bang, bang, bang, then they start searching, right? And if you give them a fourth, they just keep flying until they find that fifth then they’ll search for their reward.
They can recognize a face, and one way you can test that is by basically giving them different faces and you reward them with one face or another face. Now how can you figure out if they can recognize that face? Well, if you take that face and put it upside down, right? They find it difficult, now, recognizing the face, which is exactly the same for us. You take a face, a well-known figure, put it upside down, and we find it really difficult recognizing who that is.

So the internet has enabled us to link to each other, to connect to not simply ideas but also some sense of values. But the tools are incomplete, which would be my argument, that there needs to be much more sophisticated and smarter tools which certainly quite a few of us are trying to build.
Every time we vote for something, we appoint something – five stars or four stars whatever it might be. When we were kids, and we were in school, if we did well, our teachers would give us five stars, right? But that’s infant school, so in secondary school or junior high, they would start making comments. What we need to do is make the internet more adult, whereby, we can see what their values are, in terms of what they really feel about an issue, what they really feel about a piece of content.
Currently what happens is that the way that the semantic web is being structured is still statistical-based because we have not found a way of getting ourselves away entirely from numbers. It is how code currently works. However, what we can do, is we can adapt certain biochemical processes so it becomes, effectively, a DNA for the web

For me, home was an odd place because it was very controlling but I didn’t feel like I belonged in it particularly, I didn’t feel that I had very much connection with anything that was there. There were a few books in my dad’s library that I liked. The house itself seemed more like a school than a school so when I was off to school. that was a huge liberation as far as I was concerned.
Being sent north to Yorkshire and, I think discovering landscape, discovering the weather, discovering…well all of those things – the moors, the forests, the rivers, the lakes, the, I guess, space, big skies, real weather.
I’ve said it before, of feeling as a last child that I had very little to offer the world that I found myself in. And it wasn’t particularly something to be regretted but I just knew that all the big decisions had been made. There was nothing, there was nothing that I could add to this world that already had its own rituals, its own determination, its own, whatever, so I had to find alternative worlds

One of the things we know about brains is that they’re plastic – that is, they change with experience. So if your experience involves lots of numbers, you’ll get lots of changes in
neural wiring which are to do with processing these numbers.
Somebody who has a kind of saturated experience of numbers that we have in our numerate society will have a brain that’s wired up differently from somebody who lives out in the middle of the Australian desert, who doesn’t come across a number from one day’s end to the next. Some things will be the same – so their basic capacity to deal with numbers, which we all share…but on top of that, there’ll be the wiring created by the experience of numbers.

If we have to understand the brain in terms of our interactions with the environment – the architecture of the brain is a physical manifestation of that history of interaction – then, what you really need to do is to quantify that history, you have to measure it, put numbers to it. With the bumblebee we can completely control the history of their individual experience. So we can measure their experience from the first time they enter the arena to the very last. And because of that we can then look to see how that history of experience actually shapes itself, both in the architecture of the brain and in subsequent behaviour.
So you let the bumblebee go out into the arena, and it will, again, search randomly for a reward, for nectar. And through the process of trial and error, figure out which colour flower – is offering the reward and which colours don’t. And then you can move those flowers around and it will continue to search for that colour of flower. If you don’t move the flowers around it will actually learn to just go to that location, apart from what the colour is.
But the only way that you can discover that, just like us, is through a process of trial and error, which is how evolution itself works. So in that sense learning and development and evolution are more or less the same thing, just over different time frames. They’re just different ways of shaping the structure the brain, according to the history of experience.

I think that was the core experience for me as a child, that thing of being sent off to sleep in the middle of the afternoon when the last thing I wanted to do was sleep. And being forced to stay in bed and stay quiet and be… still… and feeling incredibly enclosed, claustrophobic and imprisoned in this tiny space behind my eyes.
I’ve described this many times and it’s absolutely the core experience for me as a child, being in this suffocating…I can remember often on hot, summer afternoons, being sent to bed at three in the afternoon, and it being bright and being warm, and in a way being in this tiny, hot, red space that was totally claustrophobic. But then coming to terms with that and the way that space got darker and cooler and wider until it went from this claustrophobic matchbox-sized space to, in a way, an infinite, or expanded space that was somehow free.
I think it’s a wonderful thing to be misunderstood. I mean space is the subject of the work. People have I think, rightly thought of my work as being a rather dumb and stupid figuration. But once you realise that isn’t the point of it, that actually it’s something else, it’s about trying to find a vehicle to connect whatever it is, the internal condition, of bodily space that place where we are when we are conscious but no longer, as it were, lock into the visual world, and in many senses, the way that I’m, engaging in it has less to do with art than it has to do with trying to deal with, you could say perceptual, existential and, issues of consciousness.

The phone rang and it was the hospital. Initially they identified my father incorrectly, so by the time that we arrived at the hospital he had been operated on. They had tried to relieve a compression in his brain, and he was bandaged up, he was in the intensive care unit and he was on a life support.
The doctors and nurses went through what they regarded as being procedures to determine whether or not they considered him to be conscious, and typically that would involve, for example, pressing on his breastplate. This was in addition to the ECGs that they were conducting as well.
But I had a different perception of consciousness with my father, primarily because when I would bring in the music player his whole face seemed to change. And it’s quite difficult to describe to somebody who is a stranger, is a nurse, for whom my father is a hospital number.
He was definitely conscious of Pavarotti, because I took him his favourite Pavarotti CD, and I played The Three Tenors because I’d heard my father singing like Pavarotti so many times – sometimes in tune sometimes completely kind of wacky because he did it Chinese karaoke style.
So I could tell, because my father’s expressions changed just something so subtle that unless you, unless you knew him, unless you had the context of who he was, you were never going to grasp it. You were never going to sense it for yourself.

A famous mathematician once said that a mathematician was a machine that turned coffee into theorems. And I think that coffee certainly fuels quite a lot of my research… But one of the things that drives me on is the fact that there are some people in the world who can’t deal with numbers at all. This is due to a congenital problem with their brain, not one that’s caused by a cerebral accident.
One of the first people we saw who had this problem, we saw in prison because he’d been arrested again for shoplifting. And the reason he shoplifted was that he was too embarrassed to go to the counter because he wouldn’t know how much money to give, he wouldn’t know if he was given the right change, people could swindle him. And if his friends saw him being so incompetent with something they find very straightforward, they could have thought him very stupid. How is it possible to be an effective citizen in a numerate society if you can’t deal with numbers?

The bumblebee only has a million brain cells, which is 250 times fewer cells than we have in one retina. And yet with that incredibly small number of cells they’re, they’re solving these incredible problems. Much of our brain is also devoted to vision. But most of what the brain uses to see doesn’t in fact come from the eyes. Only in fact 10 per cent of the information that the brain uses to see comes from the eyes. To be able to see usefully we also rely on our sense of hearing, our sense of touch, so
vision doesn’t sort of sit by itself. It’s very much informed and integrated with the other senses.
So how does this information get integrated? There’s some pretty powerful perceptual phenomena such as the McGirk effect, where I can alter the way you hear something by altering the way you see something. So I can let you look at someone, and look at their lips moving. And their lips might be moving in a way that’s consistent with saying one letter, but I present you with the sound of a different letter, and what you hear is something that’s in between.
Or I can present you with an image that’s fairly ambiguous – and it’s a slant, and it’s difficult to see if it’s slanting away from you or towards you, but as soon as you touch it and feel it slanting away from you, you’ll see it slanting away from you. And the same thing of course is true in bees, and in fact all nervous systems, they come, they integrate information, and that’s tremendously important, when it comes to making sense, literally making sense of the world.

The body is what everybody has and it’s a wonderful thing So, the issue for me is how do you acknowledge that basic human condition of embodiment without in some way fetishizing it too much? Or, in a sense, seeing it first as art and secondly, as a place where we live.
It’s a subject that has been lost, certainly to sculpture and I guess for me I wanted to do something that was really, that was common, and to that degree universal. I think the recognition that in a sense now the biological functions of the body are also an extraordinary instrument, that we use such a small part of, as it were, the total spectrum of conscious activity, available to us.
I’m not saying that we have to be aware of all of that all of the time, but I think the, that the idea of repositioning consciousness within the body and recognizing its extraordinary potential as an instrument of perception, but not just perception, but of, as it were, existence itself.

It’s a full-blown illusion –
there’s no colour in the world. We never really see an accurate representation of what’s sitting in front of us. Colour is a perfect example. So, take light. Light is a linear spectrum, it’s a line – it’s described as a line, from 400 to 700 nm [nanometre] from short wavelengths to long wavelengths, OK? So what’s important is that it’s a line. …
Colour is this three, amazing three-dimensional perceptual space, that’s defined by three words: The brightness of the colour, the saturation of the colour – which is the amount of greyness in a colour, so a fire engine is a very saturated red and a pink is an unsaturated red ’cause there’s lots of grey in it – and hue, which is the amount of redness, greenness, blueness and yellowness in the colour, which is a circle. So colour is described by these three, these three words. So it’s this three dimensional space inside our head.
What that means, is that, the two ends of the light spectrum, are actually perceptually quite similar to each other. So red and violet are perceptually quite similar to each other, which is like something very light, feeling quite similar to something really heavy, right? So even at that level of going from light to colour without even context, there is no clear relationship between the two.
We also see four categories of colour: Red, green, blue and yellow. And all other colours we see are combinations of those – like orange, is a relative combination of yellow and red, OK? There’s nothing categorical, about light, it’s a continuum. So, why is this? Obviously it wasn’t important to see light as it really is. There was a behavioural advantage into taking this linear spectrum and turning it into this amazingly complex sort of space in our heads.

We’ve certainly inherited this
sense of number – that’s what the science says. Babies, even within the first week of life, can discriminate on the basis of numbers, at least for small numbers.
Some people have done some really cute experiments here. This is an experiment done by Elizabeth Brannon at Duke University. If you give babies two displays to look at, let’s say one with two female faces and one with three female faces and you play the baby over either two female speaking or three female speaking they will look more at the three female heads rather than the two female heads. So they are matching up what they hear with what they see. And the only thing these two modalities have in common in this is the number, it’s the number of heads and the number of speakers.
We now know that lots of other species also have a sense of number, including a sense of fiveness. We know that chimps do, that monkeys do – but it’s not just primates. And there’s been some very recent research that’s shown that salamanders, fish, even bees can make numerical discrimination. So maybe one of the critical things here is to combine the innate sense of number, which we share with animals, with an ability to symbolise things, which we probably don’t share with animals.

Collectively, we’re inventing these terms, like “Nerdistan”, which is great fun, which are technology communities with a high proportion of nerds, of technical people. The inventors of Google would be digital natives, Steve Jobs would be digital native, and then there are digital immigrants, who are, would be Rupert Murdoch, or some of the old media generation who are migrating over into the digital space.
“Infonesia”, which is when you read something on the net and then you forget where you’ve referenced it. “Trolls”, who are troublemakers essentially. And then there are the good guys. It’s almost like in any Sergio Leone film. So there’s the good the bad and the ugly.
Language, regardless of whether or not it’s English or Italian or Chinese or Polish, Russian etc., it always benefits from organic growth, and in many ways the internet is an ecosystem, and the more that there are participants around the world who are getting online, we are then becoming infused with their concepts of what a term is. The key thing is to initiate and participate in and engage with others in conversations.

Why we see what we do – understanding that’s tremendously important because that creates the possibility for something like, for instance, compassion. Since only by understanding the source of my own humanity can I accept the humanity in someone else.
So how can we communicate and explore this idea with people, say, outside the lab? The way that we’re doing it, is through this idea of enabling people to see themselves see, to see and what we believe, our responses. And those responses are grounded in our history and in our experiences. We’re all walking around, responding.
Now, our consciousness sort of tells us a post-hoc story, post-hoc narrative of why did this, why we did that, but that’s often just a story that we tell ourselves to make sense of, of what we’ve done. But in fact, much of our behaviour is grounded in what we did before, so, it’s only in becoming aware of that relationship, that we truly have the possibility of changing the way we respond in the future, by changing the way we respond now.
So how do we get people to do that? Through the concept of what I call seeing yourself see. Creating a situation, where people can actually observe themselves making sense of the world. So they’re sort of outside observers of themselves.
The best way to do that would be to give someone a completely new sense. But of course we can’t give people a new sense, but one thing we can do is give one of the senses they have, a new kind of information. So, we could give, for instance, their ears, the information that their eyes normally get, so we could translate light into sound.
We take a camera, it could just be a webcam, a simple camera, and it takes in an image, and that image is then broken into a matrix of pixels, and we take a centre line of those pixels, and we break that line into a series of boxes, ok? And each box calculates the average colour within it. And then we translate that colour literally into a note. And it could be a note of a violin or a note of an oboe or whatever.
Now we have this series of squares, each with an average colour, playing sound. Now if I take that camera and I sort of scan like this, I can now hear my visual world. Initially what happens is that people don’t have a clue what they’re supposed to do. But can people, through interacting, find these patterns in the sound, and associate those patterns with a meaning? By enabling people to do this they actually experience the process themselves, they are making sense of the world, but they’re actually watching themselves make sense. In many respects this is consciousness – this ability to be an outside observer of yourself.

From my direct experience of my father’s coma I would say the medical profession has not yet found consciousness. We’re
looking for consciousness with quite possibly the wrong tools, it might not necessarily be just purely a metaphysical, mathematical, physical phenomena, it could be a biochemical, dynamic, organic zone, and just because we haven’t located it yet doesn’t mean it’s not there, it just means we’ve been trying to divine for it with inappropriate tools. So it’s like when we want to calibrate our musical instruments we use a tuning fork. We don’t go and use a ruler.

Neuroscience is a form of mapping, it seems to me, I mean we’re looking at cerebral functions that have failed, which gives you an idea of, what does what where. I think the absolutely
definition of consciousness is the one thing that neuroscience has side-stepped – we’re dealing with the how not the why, or, the mechanics of conscious activity rather than the thing in itself. I think that there are amongst the neuroscientists those that are interested in a way in the philosophical implications of getting closer to the way that the brain works.

There is
the hard question that is how does matter, which has no consciousness, give rise to consciousness? It’s not at all clear that neuroscience is going to come up with all the answers in the near term. On the other hand, of course, it’s something which people in the arts have been very exercised by and maybe they can throw light on it in a way that neuroscience can’t. Maybe the hard question is just too hard for us. On the other hand, maybe it’ll just go away. This is what I’m hoping.

The school that we’re developing based on this principle of seeing yourself see, is actually a framework for education, it’s a framework for a curriculum. Through education we’re taught there’s a right and a wrong way of doing things. We’re taught that it’s this, not that. We’re taught facts. What we need to be teaching our kids is how to think, that the world’s grey, that there are different ways of solving a problem.
And the principles of the school are going to focus not only on reading, writing and arithmetic, but the idea that if you can understand that through the process of seeing yourself see, that my behaviours are shaped by my experience that provides the potential, for compassion, creativity, community and choice. There’s too much certainty in the world, what we need is a little more uncertainty. It’s because it’s only through uncertainty that there’s the potential for understanding.

The Tibetans call it the ‘sky nature’, or the sky nature of consciousness, and I think that’s a beautiful thing – the idea that somehow within our neurological activity, there is an infinite potential for extension. I think you could say the horizon is a perceptual limit, but what consciousness and imagination has always done, is think about
what lies beyond that limit.
And it’s very, very interesting that actually that imaginative realm, that has always tried, in a sense, to overcome the limitations of an edge, of an enclosing perceptual edge. But, in fact, that image of the sky nature of consciousness is that this is simply a space.
Consciousness is a space that we have been invited to participate in or somehow share but we sort of have to hand it back. It’s a bit like the molecules in our body, we hand it back, or we don’t, we don’t actually do any handing, it is given and taken by other forces. I don’t think I’m making very much sense by the way.

Now we don’t know a lot about how people used numbers really before the agricultural revolution 10,000 years ago. But it looked as though people were keeping tallies of things on cave walls and on portable artifacts like bits of bone. But when you’ve got agriculture – so around Turkey and the near East, Mesopotamia, Sumer – people started to trade because they had surpluses to trade. Now if you’re trading, you’ve got to keep accounts. So really the origin of written numbers comes about through the work of accountants.
So accountants are really, really important in human history. From accountants keeping track of these trades, not only did writing numbers begin, but also writing words – because you had to have a word for sheep, versus a word for a barrel of oil. So really the development of numbers by accountants in the Middle East is the basis of modern civilization as we know it.
So once we’ve got a new tool – and you can think about numbers as being a conceptual tool – then it’s inevitable that someone’s going to do something with it, as with the internet. No one thought about Twitter, which I don’t use, or Facebook, which I do use, when the internet was invented. Tim Berners-Lee didn’t think ‘oh yes, good for social networking this’. It was for science really. Once you’ve got a new tool, people are going to do something interesting with it – and that’s the history of the human race really.

internet affects our consciousness, primarily because a lot of us are now online. So, we’re all sharing this whole tapestry of our lives with other people. We’re being exposed to information, content, analyses, comments, artwork, creations – everything is now in this sort of salad bowl amalgamation, melting pot, Jackson Pollock everything canvas of the internet. It’s not particularly well structured, it’s quite chaotic, but it is a collective effort that each one of us contributes to that responsibility of preserving global consciousness and to ensuring that it’s moving with a good velocity.

I think that we’re at a really, really interesting point in terms of the development of human culture because you could say that for most of its history, art has been about, in a way, reinforcing collective myths and making the perfect copy of the kings, the gods, the generals or whatever and, rendering them as objective memories. Then the 20th century came along and said art can explore its own internal necessity and its own internal syntax. I think we’ve reached a point now where, there is a real call from the people, from the viewers, to participate.
And I’m very interested in the idea that the notion of individualism, and the individual object of great worth, that comes out of the hand of a genius, is replaced with something that is far more generative, far more participatory. And the fact that I’ve got away with doing the Fourth Plinth the way that I have, that’s called One Another, that actually is an investigation if you like, about who we are, what we find funny, what we care about, what we might fear, even in the naffest sort of heartfelt call for particular causes – there is an indication if you like, of our concerns about the future. And I think it’s an example of a growing trend of an attempt to allow art to do that job of dealing with collective consciousness rather than individual consciousness.

The net is progressing towards something called the semantic web, which Time Berners-Lee, the original inventor of the net, is trying to help us migrate towards. The semantic web is essentially clustering noun terms. It’s about understanding and about trying to contextualize words. The missing thing in the semantic web is obvious – adjectives! The entire range and beauty and wonder of adjectives.

We are constantly drawn away to a symbolic universe, and a symbolic order by these digitized signals that are extremely entrancing but very, very fickle. I mean that’s why I think that sculpture is, in the age of the internet so utterly important, because it brings us back to that tactile, enduring, resistant presence of thingness.

Art’s pointless. I mean especially the stuff that Antony Gormley does is pointless – just put that in there! No, art of course is tremendously important. Why? Because it’s finding new relationships, it’s creating new relationships, it’s becoming part of our experiences it enables – it’s shaping our future, it’s shaping the way we’ll think about things in the future. It’s asking questions. It’s not providing necessarily the answers, but it’s creating the space for other people to create their own answers. And by creating their own answers, it becomes part of them.
In fact, that’s what education doesn’t do. Education tells you the answer and so that answer is no longer part of you, you didn’t discover it. Both art, and the process of course, of making art, is fundamental. And, I’d say we all do it. I mean art is not something that is done by artists as such – it’s something we do every day. Similarly, with science. Science is nothing more than playing games and making puzzles. Science is what enables us to learn how to get home from school if you’re a child because you try one way, and you realise oh that’s the wrong way, so you go a different way. It’s just trial and error. These are fundamental processes of living that we just label them
art and science

We do have to find more imagination within ourselves, more creativity, more collectivism to try and find those value-based solutions to try and build them, because if they don’t exist, it’s like before the flint tools were invented, we couldn’t cut animals. So, somebody had that creativity and the imagination to build those flint tools, or to create fire, or to create locomotives, and that’s the challenge that’s facing our generation. We have these tools, the quant tools, they’re obviously not working. So, we have to have imagination to go and find the qualitative tools, the values-based tools and then if we can combine them in a complementary way, then we might arrive at something which is workable and beneficial to all of us.

One of the issues that sometimes arises is that we can only value what we can measure. When you love somebody, you don’t say ‘I love you 7.3’, and they say ‘Is that all? Only 7.3?’ So some things of value are exempt from a numerical score. I mean I supposed it’s possible that one could do it like this, I mean maybe you could grade love in terms of artistic impression and technical merit – I don’t think it would help people’s interpersonal relationships if you did.

Well, I don’t know about trial and error, I just think that for me the whole emphasis is to try to shift from the way in which somehow we’re programmed to read the world, to act in it in calculated ways of almost empirical action. In other words, locked into a cause-and-effect kind of way, in which the ludic, the playful, the possible, the arising of the possible, in other words not worrying so much about outcome, or known outcomes, but just being in a place where anything can happen, well it’s really, really important. And the limitation of consciousness into this position of calculated, goal-orientated activity – well, we’re losing the best half of being alive.
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